THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Warbrooke of the Bemsha Swing

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The Bemsha Swing: Coherence
THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Warbrooke of the Bemsha Swing

The Bemsha Swing album Against Friends and Lovers arrived unannounced but any band which names itself after a Thelonious Monk tune is going to catch Elsewhere's ears. And this duo of Shane and Andrew from Auckland not only catch ears but sear them with grisly guitar noise which is exciting in its intensity (see review here).

Not quite what Mr Monk had in mind but . . .

However as you will see from Warbrooke's answers to our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire, he can not only spell Monk's name (and quite a few jazz people can't) but also cheerfully establishes his rowdy rock credentials.

Their album is post-punk midwifed by Sonic Youth and Big Black. And if that sounds like your thing, light the fuse and stand well clear. Or get right up close to the speakers. 

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

The theme from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Will Smith tells you a more complete story in a one and a half minute throw away rap then you usually get in a feature film, and I can still remember every word nearly two decades later.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Drums were my first instrument so I was all about the holy trinity of late Sixties drum flamboyance: John Bonham, Keith Moon, and Mitch Mitchell. My guitar playing owes more to Mitch Mitchell then Jimi Hendrix.

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Lennon (Died before he could be awfully embarassing), Nirvana (Ramones suck), Madonna (I can actually remember some of her songs), Jay-Z.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .


The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Round Midnight – Thelonious Monk

If There's a Hell Below – Curtis Mayfield

Epic Problem – Fugazi

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

I have a guitar pick Lee Ranaldo used at a Sonic Youth show in Auckland a few years ago, that's all.

205px_Our_Band_Could_Be_Your_Life_book_coverThe best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Our Band Could Be Your Life

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Sonic Youth, playing guitar. Secondary option would be playing guitar for Kanye West.

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Blade Runner, because I'm a massive sci fi nerd, a massive Phillip K. Dick nerd, and a massive Harrison Ford nerd. Also it's the best feature film ever made.

Transformers (the Eighties animated feature), because that movie is my entire childhood and the whole concept of creating a mythology of galaxy spanning civil war featuring God-planets voiced by Orson Welles being made so that a toy company could change it's product line is the best summation of an Eighties childhood I can imagine.

The Big Sleep, because I'm also a massive fan of Mickey (“I don't have fans, I have customers”) Spillane and the atmosphere in this film is insane. The lighting hasn't been bettered in 70 years and creates a beautiful chiaroscuro effect.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue deluxe edition on Vinyl, from the Warehouse!

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – Tao of the Dead

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Anything I've ever written. There's no way you couldn't be thrilled having that many people love something you've created. Even the dudes who wrote songs for Aqua must have had their moments of pride.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Just about anything by Roy Lichtenstein, to pick one at a push I'd have to say “WHAAM!”

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

Not being able to come up with anything is why I have no tattoos. That and needle aversion.

tbs_afal_low_190x190David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

It would be a fifty/fifty split between finishing as much creative work as possible - albums, novels etc - to leave a creative legacy; and having as much fun as possible with people I care about. If it's the whole human race disappearing in 5 years you can scrap the first half.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

Because it fucking rules.

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